Bejte

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Old Albanian Diwans of the Bejtexhi writers

Bejtexhinj (from Turkish: beyte meaning "poem"), is a genre of literature created in Albania in the 18th century that prevailed in different cities of what is now Albania, Kosovo, Chameria as well as in religious centers.

The spread of Bejtexhinj was a product of two different significant factors. There was a demand in religious practices to write in Albanian and to free it from foreign influence. The other factor was the accretion of ideological pressure from Turkish rulers. The ruling Ottomans sought the submission of Albanians through the Muslim religion and culture. Albania rulers opened their own schools with many Bejtexhinj poets in attendance.

History[edit]

Bejtexhinjs wrote Albanian in the Arabic alphabet but with many Persian, Turkish and Arabic words. The Bejtexhinj literature had two development phases. The first lasted until the end of the 18th century and was characterized by secular themes. The second phase, from the end of the 18th century and through the 19th century, had a predominantly religious character.

Of the secular works, many Bejtexhinjs wrote about the positive values of love, natural and feminine beauty, virtues, works, knowledge and also alluded to the negative traits of ambition and hypocrisy. Bejtexhinjs who worked in this vein were Nezim Frakulla, Sulejman Naibi and Muhamet Kyçyku. A further step in the literature was initiated when other Bejexhinjs such as Hasan Zyko Kamberi and Zenel Bastari reflected on the events of the time, describing the hard lives of the poor, the insecurities of the future, and their discontent at the conditions of the feudal system.

The literature of the Bejtexhinjs did not achieve national prestige on its own, but the Bejtexhinjs provided a valuable addition to Albanian literature. They wrote in Albanian, for example, at a time when it was banned by the ruling Ottomans. Aside from its religious themes, Bejtexhinj literature was the first to widely utilize secular themes. Some authors of this type were closer to the people and included in their poems elements of daily life, using realistic social themes with a strong critical sensibility.

Importance[edit]

With Bejtexhinj works, Albanian poetry made another step artistically, being composed of expressions and imagery that are truly artistic in value. Bejtexhinj authors also blended Albania's traditional poetry, mainly the eight-line poems that all poets used. Their works were spread through written copies or verbally. The number of poets that this era produced is considerably large coming from cities such as Berat, Elbasan, Shkodra, Gjakova, Pristina, and smaller towns as Kolonja, Frashër, and Konispol.

The flow of Bejtexhinj literature lost its influence at the beginning of the 19th century, but in some places like Kosovo, this tradition lasted even longer from authors such as Maliq Rakoveci and Rexhep Voka.

References[edit]